You can attain peace (or salvation) even if you don't renounce work and the society. You don't need to be a monk or a priest. You can perfectly be a family person, fully into social activities, yet you can be more than a Saint. How?
Every work which you do, do for the sake of God, for the satisfaction of God. Gita says, whatever task you do which is not for the sake of God becomes a cause for your bond to this world. And bond or attachment in this world is nothing but pain and suffering (because the Primordial Bond of human soul is with God, thus all other bonds are suffering). Look at West (also in the East now a days), people are so much into their work and career that they hardly enjoy life. They are so stressed all the time with money and everything !! The reason of that suffering is due to excessive attachment and affinity.
Gita says, you have the right for work, but you should not seek the result (the result will come if you are sincere enough to your work). I love this idea because most of the time we become too engrossed about the result and it diverts our attention from the actual job. That is also the teaching of Buddha to be always conscious about 'NOW'. Not past nor future. And if we do that, every action of ours become so perfect !! And according to Gita's teaching, work without attachment leads to the freedom of the soul (Nirvana in Buddha's teaching).
And how to do work with a purpose connected with God ... when you engage with any work, just say, "In the name of the Merciful and Beneficent God". And God willing, thus every work is considered as an act of worship. Amen!
Beloved Trevor adds, in relation to Karma Yoga, Ram Das says that "the karma yogi is the person who uses his or her life to come to God by listening for the dharmic act, acting without attachment to the outcome, all the while knowing she or he's not the actor, anyway."
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